The Darkness

Into the darkness.

What do you see? At night? When you are alone?

What do you imagine? Late at night? When nobody is around? Do you worry about your bills? About the next day? Maybe even the ultimate thing — dying? Does that make you fearful? Does it scare you? Does it excite you?

I’ve been reading some posts from friends. On Facebook. On Twitter. Even a few on Instagram.

Some are about loneliness. Some are about the long cold night. Some are about a day. Good or bad. Some are just saying good night. Some are about not being able to fall asleep. Some are about having somebody to talk to at 3am. Online.

I have no answers to these questions. Or, the posts.

I have my own late night issues. Mostly, I’m just not a great sleeper. It’s not worry. Even about the great ending. I’ve always reckoned that we all have to pass sometime. I just don’t sleep sometimes.

I have my own ways of dealing with it. When I know I have to get up early, it’s in pill form. Sometimes, it’s just simple carb loading and decline. Sometimes, not wanting to disturb anybody, work helps. Usually, in the studio. Once in a great while, I go outside and look around. I make pictures. At 2 am. Or, 3 am. I’m sure if a neighbor saw me, the local cops would appear asking me what I was doing.

That’s how this picture came to be.

Not sleeping. Walking. Looking. Seeing. Making a picture or two. Let me tell you, things get spooky out there. At about 3 am. In the darkness. Well after dark. Way before dawn.

Now you are wondering, I think. How is the tree lighted? It’s an urban area. The light comes from a street light. Shining from across the street. With a nice long exposure, I was able to put enough light on the sensor to illuminate the tree. The bare tree. The moody tree. The spooky tree.

In order to get my head in the right place to talk to you, I listened to Spirit. From an album called, “The Family That Plays Together.” For the more youthful of you who read Storyteller, I’m fairly sure you never heard of them. For the folks around my age, you still might  have never heard of them. They were only around for maybe five years. The album that I’m playing was recorded in 1969. Some members left. New players joined the band. Eventually the band splintered into a bunch of other bands. They are like branches of a musical tree.

That was a time.

Creativity burbled up from an underground spring. It carried on through the 1970s. Music changed. Art changed. It changed many people. I changed me. It brought me to where I am today.

Today, everybody is a musician, a photographer, a writer, a chef. That’s okay. But, really? There isn’t enough people to consume all of the new work. Not that they would. Because the new creators want everything right now. They don’t want to pay their dues. To learn. To grow. To practice. To grow some more. They’ll tell you that they don’t need a gatekeeper because the want to keep control of their work.

Seriously? Truth be told, they’d love a gatekeeper. Alas, much of their work doesn’t cut it. It isn’t good enough for mass sales. Make no mistake, sales aren’t everything. But, that’s how you put food on the table. And, sales mean that people are doing something with your work. They are seeing it. They are liking it. They want more. That’s the trick. Do something so well that your readers, fans, viewers, want more.


That is why I work hard every day. Why I do what I do. Everyday.

What about you?

Sure. I get it. Day jobs. Paying the bills. Putting the food on the table.


I hope that you think about your passion daily. After dinner, family time, good night-time to children. I hope that you do whatever you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be taking pictures at 3am. It could be watching a movie to study the cinematics. To look at how light is used. To see beginnings, middles and ends. Just to learn.

Learn. There’s my word for the year. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t force it. It just sort of came.

Apparently, I’ve ingested it. It’s my word for the year. It rises up out of the primordial mists that make up my brain, heart and soul. It’s right where I want it. I don’t think about it. It’s just there. There for whenever I need it.

And, you?

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at or For a quick look at my work please go to

8 thoughts on “The Darkness

  1. Thought provokingpost. As an ex insomniac…I had to retrain my hearing…I still have the odd night of on mode. If at 2am the brain is still in gear it’s time to get up, make tea.. no cafein actually helps me sleep…and read a magazine, research something, continue notes on the stories I am trying to write. To this end we are even setting up white night room downstairs. Comfy, warm with a place to rustle up a midnight snack. At 3am the eyelids hopefully drop and slumber calls.
    Some nights I do worry, some nights I wake in a panic and some nights I just dream of sandwiches and I won’t sleep till I have gone and made one. Crumbs in bed are no problem!
    I love the hours of darkness. Tony and I are at our most creative then and bedtime is for reading and music listening. A winding down time. I never fear darkness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that you have the same food obsession that we do. If one of us even mentions a certain kind of food the other one wants it. Past works best late because you get a bunch of carbs which drop out pretty quick.

      Crumbs in the bed? That’s why we have dogs.


  2. I read at night, sometimes long into the night. If I reach my limit I close my eyes and listen to podcasts, and somehow listening to even a very informative speaker I am lulled to sleep. Harry Shearer has a podcast from hs home in NOLA, and I often think of you wondering if you’d find him interesting.

    I have carved out a nice life full of music and art appreciation. My own talents are not extraordinary, but I think artists need people like me to admire their work. I’m content with my role! ✌️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, we know Harry. He hangs out at one of the coffee shops that we do. They know us (and him) so well, that unless we say no, our drinks are made before we get to the counter. 🙂 Besides him, we listen to a lot of NPR.

      Then, that’s your passion, But, artists need people like you to buy our work. Hahahahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I LOVE Harry! I listen to his podcast regularly, and have been known to listen to certain episodes more than once. I’m just a little jealous, Ray! 🙂 And yes to NPR…even my local Public Radio station. It provides an island of calm in a sea of insanity!


      2. Oh, this is New Orleans. John Goodman is our back side yard neighbor. Supposedly, Jay Z & Beyoncé live at the end of one of the dog routes. Archie and Olivia Manning, father and mother of Payton and Eli, live across the street from us. Anne Rice used to live two blocks away. You never know who you’ll run into on Frenchman Street. Of course, everybody is cool and nobody messes with anybody

        Liked by 1 person

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